Henry James Babbitt was born on 24 August 1825 on a farm in Gorham, Ontario, New York. He was the oldest of seven children of Joseph Lake Babbitt and Mary Jane Ellison and was raised as a Methodist. The family migrated south to Allegany County around 1829, eventually settling on a farm in the Town of Amity that was upwards of 128 acres in size.
Henry married Dorcas E Black, daughter of Moses, in 1851 in Amity (in what is now part of the Town of Ward). Together they had three daughters: the first was unnamed (because she died as an infant), Emma Cornelia Barber, and Clara Belle Jones. They lived on his father's farm, where Henry helped work until his father's death in 1869. He also was trained and worked as a carpenter.
On Civil War records, he is described as 5'7" tall with blue eyes, brown hair, and a light complexion.
On the 9th of either July or September 1864, Henry enlisted into the 136th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment in Castile, Wyoming, New York with the intention of serving for a year. He was mustered in as Private to that regiment in Company I on the same day. Depending on the record, his occupation was listed as either a carpenter or farmer when he enlisted. He served honorably for either 9 or 11 months before being discharged on 13 June 1865 with his company near Washington, D.C. As a result of his service, Henry received injuries to his spinal cord and hip.
Upon his discharge from the infantry, Henry returned to his family's farm, where his wife Dorcas died in 1865 (either before or after his return). He remarried to widow Wealthy M Chaffee (née Standish) in January 1866 in Ward. He most likely inherited the farmland from his father near Phillip's Creek in Ward, which is where they lived. He was granted letters of administration of his father's estate sometime between 1888-1893.
By 1875, Henry was living in Alfred. His daughter, Emma, died in 1874, so Henry took responsibility of her daughter, Florence. Her son, William, was still with their father. Once Wealthy died in 1886, Henry spent much of his time living with his daughter, Clara, and her husband. He occasionally stayed with his granddaughter, Florence, and her family. He lived with Clara and husband at the time of the 1900 US census, and with Florence and family at the time of the 1905 NYS census.
Henry was a lifelong Democrat and was very well-read, having taken a deep interest in the current events and affairs of the country.
He died at the home of his daughter, Clara Jones, in Alfred on 17 August 1907 due to heart trouble, and was buried two days later in Alfred Rural Cemetery.
Henry J. Babbitt, son of Joseph L. and Mary J. Allison Babbitt, was born in Ontario Co. N.Y. in 1825, and died at the home of his son-in-law, Carlyle Jones in Alfred, Aug. 17, 1907, aged 82 years, from heart trouble.
In 1851 he was married to Dorcas Black. To them were born three children; one died in infancy, two grew to womanhood. Emma died in 1874. Bell, now Mrs. Carlyle Jones, with whom he spent the last days of his life and by whom he was kindly cared for, lives at the Five Corners in the town of Alfred.
In the fall of 1864, he enlisted in the 131st regiment, New York volunteers (actually 136th regiment) and served with honor until the close of the war.
After his return from the army he was married in Jan. 1866 to Wealthy Chafee. Since the death of his wife he has made his home much of the time with his daughter, Mrs. Jones, and a granddaughter, Mrs. Wm. Marvel of Alfred Station, where everything possible was done for his comfort.
Mr. Babbitt was a life long Democrat, and was always deeply interested in the affairs of the nation. He was a well read man, always well informed on the topics of the day.
The funeral was held at Mr. Jones home on Monday afternoon, conducted by Rev. B. F. Rogers, the burial being in the Alfred Cemetery.
- "Death of Henry J. Babbitt". The Alfred (NY) Sun, vol. XXIV, no. 34, 21 August 1907, pg. 1.
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Categories: Allegany County, New York | Ontario County, New York | 136th Regiment, New York Infantry, United States Civil War